Greek Giant

Where do I begin with the 14-4 Giants victory over the Pirates on a sunny Memorial Day in San Francisco? The Giants had five batters with three hits: Mitch Haniger, Austin Slater, Casey Schmitt, Patrick Bailey, and Brandon Crawford. J. D. Davis had two of his own. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before in Giants history but I can tell you this: It’s very rare and it shows the balance of the Giants hitting attack ever since the call ups of Patrick Bailey and Casey Schmitt. With Schmitt and Bailey absolutely raking it takes the pressure off the other hitters and has made them better. Mitch Haniger and. Michael Conforto are on fire and J. D. Davis continues his excellence at the plate and on the field.

The key to this game was the giant 8-run bottom of the seventh inning by the Giants that put the game away after the Pirates were chipping away at an early San Francisco lead that was once 5-0 and became 6-3 until that penultimate frame. The Giants won for the 11th time in their past 14 games and are 28-26 at the one third mark of the season.

For simplicity I will post all the twitter highlights here:



The Birthday Boy!

Yesterday’s game was such a run-scoring and hitting feast that I don’t know where to begin.

The Austin Slater Show

I could start with Austin Slater who made his return from the IL, his second stint this year, with a home run, a double, a great catch, another great attempt at a catch and a minor outfield gaffe. The home run was a thing of beauty: a cruise missile off a fastball from Rich Hill on the outside corner and barely knee-high. In other words, Hill did not make a bad pitch. Slater just beat him. His double down the left line was another example of his power and shows why Slater is such a dynamic player when he is healthy.

Slater was very Austin Slater on this day. That means he displayed pretty much all of his wonderful baseball skills: Power, ability to hit all fields, speed, and base running. He was fun to watch and a reminder of why he has hung on with the Giants despite a promising career continuously delayed by injuries. He would go 3-6 on the day with four runs batted in and a run scored. He was, quite simply, fun to watch.

Or Is it the Casey Schmitt Show?

Casey Schmitt also had another fantastic day at the yard. Looking like an eight-year veteran Schmitt 3-5 with two runs batted in. He lined a double off the top of the left field wall that was inches from a homer. He hit a clutch single in the bottom of the seventh in the big inning that made a 6-3 game 14-3. He scored two runs and raised his batting average to .342. If Schmitt keeps this up he will be making a run for Rookie of the Year and MVP. I’m not joking.

Bailey’s Birthday Bash

How about Patrick Bailey? Wow! He had four runs batted in and celebrated his 24th birthday like it was his 124th! The switch-slugging catcher hit a beautiful opposite field double from the right side and later in the game in that eight-run seventh inning launched a two-run homer to right field from the left side of the plate with Casey Schmitt on base after a single that drove in LaMonte Wade Jr. and Mitch Haniger. Oh, and he also caught another fine pitching performance from a Giants starter, in this case, Anthony Desclafani, see below.

Desclafani Gets the Win

There was an interesting top of the first inning in yesterday’s win for Anthony Desclafani. It was by no means, routine. Marcano lead off the game for Pittsburgh with a double on his first swing. Then Brian Reynolds lined a shot to center that Bryce Johnson was in position to catch. A yard or two either way and that’s a run in for Pittsburgh and Reynolds on second or third with nobody out. The next batter, Andrew McCutchen, hit a soft liner that looked like it may be a hit between Austin Slater and Brandon Crawford. With one out Marcano took off, assuming he would score.


Austin Slater made a running catch and threw to second base to get the double play. Inning over on three pitches, Desclafani and the Giants escape with no runs scored.

Desclafani would mostly cruise the rest of the way, going seven innings and allowing eight hits on three runs with no walks and two strikeouts. It was his third win of the season and he lowered his ERA to 3.48. He had been in the middle of a three-game losing streak entering the game.

Anthony Desclfafani may be the key figure to any playoff hopes the Giants have. If he pitches well he gives the boys a reliable number three starter, an essential part of a series-winning combination in the postseason. If he does not, well,….

I see the Giants calling up Kyle Harrison or dealing for a legit starting pitcher.

Memo to Gabe: Please Do Not Use Position Players to Pitch!

My only gripe about the fun game and big win was Gabe Kapler’s decision to use Brett Wisely to close out the game and pitch the ninth inning in a 14-4 game after Tayler Rogers pitched the top of the eighth inning. Wisely did not allow a run but he looked ridiculous on the mound. I know why the Giants Manager does it. Kapler has been clear on the matter: He believes every inning and every pitch he can save from using a reliever or any pitcher on the roster is a net-gain down the road. In a contest that’s 14-4 his thinking goes that the risks are minimal and far outweighed by the benefits to the pitching staff.

But he’s wrong.

Let me explain why. Firstly, putting a position player on the mound puts him in an awkward, unfamiliar position in a Major League game. This makes him much more prone to injury. What if he sprains an ankle trying to field a throw from a first baseman while running to first? What if he gets hit by a come-backer that a regular pitcher avoids? What if he injures his arm pitching?

Secondly, it makes a mockery of the game of baseball. It turns a beautiful game and a beautiful win into a clown show and that should just not happen. Sorry. No!

It offends my sensibilities.

Kapler’s is a strategy that only takes into consideration numbers, the numbers of a pitcher, in this case without thinking about the larger picture and the larger context. It’s one more way an overly-numbers based approach to analyzing and playing baseball harms the game. There is nothing wrong with analysis, in context. It’s just that true intelligence and wisdom, whether in baseball or in life, consider the bigger picture and using a position player as a pitcher fails to do that. Could you imagine Bruce Bochy ever doing it in this situation?

Speaking of Bochy, have you seen what he’s doing in Texas?

Kapler Lets the Rookies Play

I don’t want this post to be all negative on the Giants Manager because the truth is this success of the team also a reflection of his stewardship. He has not been afraid to immediately insert Bailey, Wisely, Schmitt and even Johnson in the lineups and on a regular basis, for the most part, since they were called up. All of them, with the exception of Johnson, have shown they can hit at the big level in some way. Johnson’s value is in center field and on the bases and he showed it yesterday.

Thinking back to St. Bochy, it is highly unlikely the former Giant Manager and future Hall-of-Famer, demonstrates the same faith in the rookies if he is running this team. Let’s be honest. So, Kudos to Gabe. Kudos to Farhan. That 2020 draft is suddenly looking fantastic!

Kapler had some nice words to say about the play of the youngsters:

β€œIt’s unusual to have two rookies come up and have the type of sustained success that these two players are having. I imagine they’re having a shared experience around it. You can dream on the possibilities of these guys playing for a really long time together and looking back on this time when they first got called up to the major-leagues and propelled the team to win a lot of baseball games.”

Tonight’s Game

Game two of the series against the Pirates takes place tonight at 6:45 PM. It will be another bullpen game with John Brebbia starting against Johan Oviedo of Pittsburgh.